A cold damp January Saturday evening in Dublin can only mean one thing. It’s that time of year again; Metal 2 The Masses Ireland; that time when the hibernating beasts of the Irish metal scene awake from their winter slumber and begin the new quest to sally forth on a mission to Bloodstock Open Air.
35 bands are competing in this year’s showcase and tonight’s first heat features five acts with very diverse styles. Kicking off the proceedings are Meniscus. Hailing from Waterford City, this three piece brought a very enthusiastic gang of fans and the night is off to a hell of a start. Bill Stuart is the lead singer and guitarist. The song structures seem to build around his very strong playing. Their songs are progressive with a slight thrashy influence. When the sweat drenched Stuart rips into his solo spots, he is like a man possessed and feeds off the people up front. The dreaded first slot of the night is always the most difficult but Meniscus take their chance and set an early bar for those who follow. Metal 2 The Masses stalwarts, Nautilus are up next and proceed to send waves of blackened doom from the stage. Cloaky on rhythm guitar is a monstrous sight. Decked in his trademark dungaree shorts, he lays down bastarding heavy riffs that cement the foundation for frontman Cathal Hughes’ pained vocal and ascending guitar lines. The new material from their upcoming album is more focused. Nautilus are a band that have defined their sound over the last few years and on stage is where it comes to the fore.
The middle slot of the evening goes to the triple guitar attack of those unbelievably gifted lads in Megacone. I’ve said it before about these guys, they are a revelation and challenge everything that you think is possible in live music. There are more guitar and bass effects pedals on the stage than the rest of the bands combined. Thankfully, this 5 piece know how to use every single setting. Songs about space and beyond abound, with a level of technicality that is beyond gifted. It is no surprise that they have landed the support slot for the upcoming Ozric Tentacles show in Dublin. Tonight is another stellar performance (which does include the first flute performance at a M2TM show) and I hope to see more of these guys soon. Following from Megacone are the Two Tales Of Woe sludgers. I cannot get enough of this band. From the opening riff of their set, it’s clear that TTOW mean business and have their eyes set on the Catton Hall turf. Carl King is the consummate lead figure, affable and friendly, yet when the groove kicks in he is gargantuan in both voice and presence. Their performance brings the most enthusiastic response from the punters tonight and when they play ‘Goddess’ the reception is rapturous. The power of the riff really does compel thee this evening.
Closing the proceedings for heat one are The Magnapinna; a new band to me. I was interested to see what these guys would bring to the table. Their style cannot be pigeon-holed. Initially they deal us a doomy/stoner card but this is followed with some bizarre almost Mr. Bungle/Tomahawk moments. There is a very catchy eponymous song that could easily be from the Ramones. The lead singer is compelling to watch as he throws more (musical) curveballs than a New York Yankees pitcher. Their performance is a little arthouse, but in a world of stereotypes, we need bands like The Magnapinna who push boundaries and challenge convention.
In my three years of covering Metal 2 The Masses heats in Dublin, this was, by far, the strongest heat I have ever attended. Kudos to all involved: Bands, fans, organisers and venue staff.
Two Tales Of Woe were the winners of the crowd vote and they will be joined in the next round by judges choice, Nautilus.
PlanetMosh caught up with both bands in the aftermath and here’s what went down:
Two Tales Of Woe
1. For people hearing about Two Tales Of Woe for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We are a metal band first and foremost with influences ranging from Crowbar to Thin Lizzy….slotting between the Doom/Sludge genres (Sloom!!!!) (for more on TTOW read our recent interview here)
2. This is your first time playing Metal 2 The Masses. How was your experience in the first heat?
Amazing!! Our first M2TM was a really, really great experience for us. All the bands were really on top of their game and everyone supported each other in front of an awesome crowd at Fibbers…well played everyone.
3. Two Tales Of Woe were the people’s choice at Heat One, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
It was a real honour. We just love playing our music and to be acknowledged in this way was really special. Thanks to everyone who came down to the show last night and who voted for us. As for what to expect in the Semi Final? A couple of new tracks and maybe dust the cobwebs off another oldie.
4. Where can we find out more about Two Tales Of Woe and is there new material on the way?
We have finally kicked into writing mode and we are just finished one brand new track. With the guts of a second on the way we are preparing for an upcoming recording.
Get us on facebook www.facebook.com/two tales of woe
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our debut album and download it for free on twotalesofwoe1.bandcamp.com
1. For people hearing about Nautilus for the first time. Tell us about yourselves?
We’re a 4 piece Doom/Sludge band from North County Dublin. We have 2 EP’s released over the last couple of years and are on the verge of releasing our debut album which we’re very excited about.
2. This is your third time playing Metal 2 The Masses. What is it about M2TM that brings you back?
For us it’s mainly about getting to gig with new bands who we wouldn’t have otherwise. In Heat 1 we came out big fans of literally every other band we played with. It was a really amazing night of music and was great to finally gig with Two Tales Of Woe who a couple of us have been following for almost 10 years. We’re all huge Two Tales fans and it was an absolute honour to get through to the Semi Finals with them.
3. With new material in the bag, how has it been playing the new tunes on stage?
It’s been great fun! We literally wrapped up the album 2 days ago and are still getting our heads around gigging again after 3 months.
4. Nautilus were the judges choice at Heat One, guaranteeing a Semi Final place. How did it feel getting to the next stage and what can we expect in the Semi from you?
We honestly don’t know how we got through Heat 1 considering how amazing literally every other act was. We felt as though we were quite shaky performance wise in Heat 1 and are sure, by the time the semis roll in and we have a couple more gigs down the neck, we’ll be a lot more confident in our live show.
5. Where can we find out more about Nautilus and tell us a little about the debut album and your upcoming album fundraiser show?
Our 2nd EP ‘Nautilus’ is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer and Bandcamp. We’re fairly active on our Facebook so head there to stay in the loop with upcoming releases and shows. We just finished 17 days in Station Studios, an amazing facility in Balbriggan owned by our good friend Wes Tuite. We’re hoping to launch in April and will have details online very soon.
We’re doing an album fundraiser this Fri 22nd in On The Rox where we’ll be playing the album in it’s entirety and trying to raise much needed funds to go towards Mastering, Duplication, Artwork and merch. We’ll be joined on the night by some great acts and friends in Ten Ton Slug, Causticgod and Weeping Ulcer.
Photos by Down The Barrel Photography